NASCAR: Five Races That Should Consider Day/Night Switch

Apr 24, 2016; Richmond, VA, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) races driver Tony Stewart (14) and driver Kyle Busch (18) during the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 24, 2016; Richmond, VA, USA; Sprint Cup Series driver Carl Edwards (19) races driver Tony Stewart (14) and driver Kyle Busch (18) during the Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Amber Searls-USA TODAY Sports

Richmond International Raceway held their first scheduled daytime race since 1997 and received overwhelming support from fans and drivers. This begs the question, which other NASCAR races would benefit from a switch?

The NASCAR schedule is debated on a weekly basis. Too few road courses, too few short tracks, too many intermediate tracks. Until Richmond International Raceway decided to change their night time race to a day time race, the conversation of switching from a day to a night race or vice versa, was rarely discussed. That was, until now. Even Daytona International Speedway chimed in and asked on Twitter which fans prefer.

Let’s take a look at five NASCAR races that would be the most from a change to the day or night.

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Peter Casey-USA TODAY Sports

Darlington Raceway

Change: Night to day

Everything else on weekend schedule for this track is in throwback mode, so why not when they hold the actual race? The Southern 500 was always scheduled to run on a Sunday afternoon, during Labor Day weekend, in steamy South Carolina.

Eventually Darlington Raceway was limited to just one date and that date was moved all around the calendar with varying start times.

The only change to this NASCAR race needs to be made now is to run this race during the daytime and watch the cars slip and slid around the already treacherous “Lady in Black.”

Mar 2, 2014; Avondale, AZ, USA; NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Kevin Harvick (right) and Joey Logano lead the field on a restart during the The Profit on CNBC 500 at Phoenix International Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports, NASCAR races

Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Phoenix International Raceway

Change: Day to night

It wasn’t too long ago that the spring Phoenix race was run under the lights. With the recent track changes, NASCAR has not visited the revamped track under the lights. That needs to happen.

Keep the fall NASCAR race, but add back some extra excitement and run the spring NASCAR race at Phoenix under the lights. It will had some extra intrigue to the early part of the calendar. Not to mention the sparks will look great as the drivers dive to the bottom in the dogleg.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports, NASCAR races

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Daytona International Speedway

Change: Night to day

Dale Earnhardt Jr. thinks Daytona should revert the February NASCAR races to the daytime like it used to be, before lights were installed. That is a great idea but I wouldn’t stop there.

The July NASCAR race should run during the daytime too. It might not be the most pleasant weather for race fans but that is why Daytona just completed their Daytona Rising, giving fans more than enough opportunities to get out of the heat.

By running the race during the day, Daytona and NASCAR could also look at running it on the 4th of July. This gives an opportunity for prime coverage during a national holiday that lacks any major sporting event.

NASCAR races

Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Change: Day to night

When the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series heads for their one and only trip to Las Vegas Motor Speedway, it should be just like everything else in Las Vegas. Under the lights. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series runs under the lights and the fans that come out for that race in the fall, should be treated to a nighttime event twice a year.

On a track as smooth as Las Vegas is, the tire wear isn’t an issue during the daytime, so moving the racing to night will not take anything away from that. Plus, everything worth going to in Las Vegas happens at night, right?

NASCAR races

Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky Speedway

Change: Night to day

Five NASCAR races have been held at Kentucky Speedway since the Sprint Cup Series landed a date at the speedway. All but one race has been held under the lights and that lone daytime race was in 2013 due to weather.

The track is undergoing a current facelift which will hopefully add a unique twist to the racing. Moving the race to the day time would help with tire wear on yet another 1.5-mile intermediate speedway. Hosting the race in the summer will be an added bonus to running a race during the day as it will help to heat up the track and make tire wear a factor.

What did you think of the five suggested? Be sure to comment below and share your thoughts.

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